Obama – Losing Control
Two reports below on the US involvement in Iraq/Syria reflect a feeling desperation in Obama’s latest statements on IS that a “long term campaign” is needed to degrade (and ultimately destroy) it, that air strikes have saved “part of” Kobane, and that “important successes” have been achieved (but where). The US has now painted itself into a “destroy the IS” corner and, with Kerry lambasting IS for its barbaric behaviour, this role is enhanced from a humanitarian perspective.
The more so as the original justification for the air strikes – “stop the genocide” – seems far from being achieved: indeed further “massacres” or large killings are possible not only in Kobane but even in Baghdad. Nor do the Iraq government and army seem to be making a substantive contribution against IS and Obama’s “allies” (60 or 20 or 4?) appear ineffective. The scope for Australia to contribute is of course very limited given that the US is refusing to put troops on the ground.
The Religious Influence
The report that Malaysian Muslims are increasingly supporting IS adds weight to the need for western leaders to acknowledge publicly that many of the beliefs reflected in Islamic religion are not acceptable in western countries. They also need to acknowledge that the extremists’ groups are in fact basing their activities on that religion.
Andrew Bolt points out below (see Proud Australian Patriotism) that former Treasurer Costello’s statement 9 years ago – “if you want a country which has sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you” – would not now be acceptable. Indeed we have an ABC programmer recently describing a caliphate as “less like a medieval fantasy and more like, well, the future”. And SBS news tonight ran an IS video showing pictures of their fighting against Iraq forces.
Also below, a Senior Fellow for Strategic Communication at American Foreign Policy Council argues convincingly that it is bizarre not to accept that IS is in fact Islamic and that beheadings are common practice in Saudi Arabia. As he rightly says, “We must object not only to their barbaric acts but to the Quranic principles that inspire and justify them” (see below Bizarre insistence that Islamic State is not Islamic)
Are Greenies Winning Publicity War
Bolt also points to the need for a comprehensive statement on the uncertainties on dangerous global warming and the need to use fossil fuels (see There is plenty here to make us wince). Abbott has already put his toe into the water on the future importance of coal and has publicly criticised the ANU decision to delete its super investments in certain energy corporates. But, particularly given the support for the ANU decision (including by former Liberal leaders Hewson and Malcolm Fraser), the opportunity exists to spell out the many uncertainties about the “science”. Bolt notes the latest rebuttal of the ocean-influence explanation of the hiatus in surface temperatures.